West Bengal Civic Polls: Elections to four municipal corporations on 22 January

The state election commission has left out Howrah Municipal Corporation, amid the ongoing row between the Mamata Banerjee government and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar over a bill seeking its bifurcation

Press Trust of India December 28, 2021 12:03:17 IST
West Bengal Civic Polls: Elections to four municipal corporations on 22 January

Representational image. PTI

Kolkata: The West Bengal State Election Commission on Monday announced that polls to four municipal corporations — Siliguri, Chandannagar, Bidhannagar, Asansol — will be held on 22 January.

The commission left out Howrah Municipal Corporation, amid the ongoing row between the Mamata Banerjee government and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar over a bill seeking its bifurcation.

Making the announcement at his office here, State Election Commissioner Saurav Das said that nomination filing for the 22 January polls, to be held from 7 am to 5 pm, will commence on 28 December.

"The last date for submitting nomination is 3 January. The papers will be scrutinised the day after and 6  January has been fixed as the last date for withdrawing the nominations," Das told reporters.

Of the four, Asansol is the largest municipal corporation with 106 seats, followed by Siliguri with 47, Chandannagar with 33 and Bidhannagar with 41 wards, he said.

Repoll, if any, will be held on 24 January, the SEC said. Counting of votes will be held on 25 January, 2022.

"The commission has adopted electoral rolls updated up to 1 November, 2021," Das said. He also said that model code of conduct will be applicable in the poll-bound areas from Monday.

The governor on Sunday said he had on 24 November sent back the bifurcation bill — which seeks to carve out Bally Municipality out of Howrah Municipal Corporation — to the state government, with a number of queries for which clarifications have not been provided this far.

The SEC and the West Bengal government had earlier told the Calcutta High Court that plans were afoot to hold elections to five municipal corporations in the state on 22 January and the remaining civic bodies, where polls are due, on 27 February.

Meanwhile, members of the opposition BJP, the Left Front and the CPI(M) on Monday "walked out" of an all-party meet convened by the State Election Commission, claiming that there was "no commitment" on holding Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) elections. The TMC, however, claimed that the Opposition leaders were present all throughout the meeting

"We walked out of the meeting for two reasons — SEC gave a vague response when asked about HMC polls and our request for postponing the elections to four municipal corporations by a week was not entertained," BJP MP Arjun Singh said.

Echoing him, CPI (M) leader Rabin Deb said the Left Front members stormed out as there was no word on Howrah Municipal Corporation polls.

"The SEC also did not pay attention to our demand for taking into consideration the voter list updated till January 2022. It wants to go by the list that was updated till 1 November, 2021," he said.

Senior TMC leader Tapas Roy said the Opposition wanted to delay the polling process as they were afraid to face defeat.

"They (Opposition leaders) were all there during the meeting. Dates for HMC polls could not be announced as the governor is holding up the bill and issuing misleading statements at BJP's behest," he alleged.

Elections to Kolkata Municipal Corporation were held on 19 December. The ruling TMC won the KMC elections, clinching 134 of 144 seats in a ringing endorsement for the party, seven months after its landslide win in the assembly polls. The BJP, which lost much of its steam after the assembly poll defeat, managed to win just three wards. The Congress and the CPI (M)-led Left Front bagged two wards each, and independents three.

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